‘Deception’ Post Mortem: Chris Fedak Talks Two-Part Season Finale!

Deception Finale, Chris Fedak

(Courtesy of ABC/Giovanni Rufino)

After airing its thrilling two-part season finale, Villain Media has an exclusive interview with executive producer Chris Fedak discussing the epic conclusion to ABC’s crime/magic drama, Deception, starring Jack Cutmore-Scott and Ilfenesh Hadera. Find out how the Deception creator was able to wrap up the first season with the help of magician Cameron Black (Scott) and FBI agent Kay Daniels (Hadera).

As we previously mentioned, the career of superstar Las Vegas magician Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) may have been ruined by scandal. But he’s found another place to put his skills of deception, influence, and illusion to use; the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a consulting illusionist, Cameron uses every trick he knows to help the FBI agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera) catch the world’s most elusive criminals and solve crimes that defy all explanation.

Just as the song says, now we’re here! Showrunner Chris Fedak discusses how these last two installments, Code Act, and Transposition, came together. During our in-depth conversation, Fedak opens up about his favorite moments from these thirteen episodes and shares his thoughts on what the second season might have been. You can tell from our talk that we love listening to director’s commentaries on DVDs!

[Spoilers: In case you haven’t seen the episodes, please read our previous recaps and watch the final installments on ABC.Go.com. From this point-on, we’re diving deep into the two episodes.]

Deception Finale, Chris Fedak
DECEPTION – The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Giovanni Rufino)

Villain Media: The pilot sets up the “Menace of The Mystery Woman.” Sacrifice 99 to Fool One & Multiple Outs was the “Revenge of The Mystery Woman.” Code Act & Transposition is “The Mystery Woman Strikes Back.” Tell me about putting up the two-part season finale.  

Chris Fedak: [Laughs] When we were breaking the season for the show, we wanted the arc to be epic and jam-packed with exciting stuff as we could possibly imagine. We knew it was going to be a two-parter. We built the first part very much focused on the mythology of the show. This focused on all the treasure stuff; the pieces of the puzzle coming coming together.

In theory, episode 12 should feel like the finale of the season. And then with episode 13, with the finale itself, this was really our chance to focus in on our characters and their emotions. We have an exciting case happening in real time. But also, the Mystery Woman [Stephanie Corneliussen] has used this case to force Jonathan out of jail. This was a way to laser in on her emotions and why she feels this connection with him.

For us, I wanted to do everything; make the cake and eat it too! Big action, big fantastic magic set pieces, and also some great character stuff!

VM: In Code Act, Dina [Lenora Crichlow] mentions to Kay [Hadera] that Cameron [Scott] was planning an ABC special that didn’t work out. Was that an inside joke?

CF: [Laughs] No! When we made the show, we didn’t know we weren’t going to be making a Season 2. Whenever we talked about specials, we tried to make references to ABC. It’s an inside joke to the network we were on, but we didn’t see the future there.

VM: In Code Act, I loved seeing Kay leading the magic team in the subway tunnels. Tell me about this nice and sweet moment between Kay and Dina [Crichlow] bonding.

CF: Oh yeah! Over the course of the season, I think Kay and Dina are the leaders of their teams. In Kay’s team, she is the FBI agent. Cameron’s the talent in a way, the genius, but she’s the FBI agent. In that way, Dina is the leader on the magic side of the team. They have a connection there. They’re the adults in the room. They’re also funny and smart. They’re the leaders of this group of characters. I think they have a natural connection.

VM: My favorite part of Code Act is the rematch between Kay and the Mystery Woman aka The Femme Fatale. It’s almost shot-for-shot sequence from Sacrifice 99 to Fool One, except for Cameron being involved. Was that intentional?

CF: It’s funny! I don’t think it was designed to be intentional. But then again, you don’t see that until someone else points it out. I like the fact there’s a faceoff. Sometimes we come up with a super elaborate reason why our bad guys are going to get away. Since we’re doing our penultimate episode, let’s push it and have Kay take the shot! It’s great for us and it’s a twist on that earlier scene. I can see how it echoes that. Cool! I didn’t put that together! Thank you for pointing that out!

VM: In Transposition, tell me how the First Avenue Tunnel sequence came about.

CF: That really spoke to our production team in New York! We knew we wanted to do a tunnel sequence in the beginning of that episode. Getting a tunnel in New York is not the easiest thing to do. Our location team and design producer, Ray Quinlan, are essentially new York experts. When I went to them, I said I wanted New York to be part of the story; I needed a tunnel. They were amazing in being able to get that tunnel. We built the sequence around that and shot it on a Sunday. We just wanted to make it as big and thrilling as we could. It’s a combination of real location, real cars, and some visual effects to tie it all together. When we first looked at it in the script, we thought that it was going to be hard. Our team was able to do all those things! I was always impressed by what they were able to do!

VM: At the end of Transposition, Jonathan is willing to save Dina’s relationship with Mike (Amaury Nolasco). But as Cameron, Jonathan ruins his brother’s relationship with Kay. Tell me about ending the first season, especially with Cameron rotting in prison, on this surprising role reversal.

CF: I think it’s a betrayal. It’s a betrayal on a number of different levels. It’s a betrayal of leaving Cameron in prison. It’s a betrayal of Cameron’s burgeoning connection with Kay, that Jonathan knows about.

But Jonathan is in a dark place. He’s been betrayed by the FBI, by his brother. So now, he’s going on the run himself. It’s not so much about becoming a bad guy and joining the mystery woman. It’s more about Jonathan thinking he can do this better than what Cameron does. He can do it better by being on the inside.

He has his reasons for what he does. But what Season 2 was going to be about was unpacking that. Cameron would be the aggrieved brother chasing after Jonathan, as opposed to trying to exonerate him. Now he’s on the other side of the coin. We had planned to explore that. Obviously it’s a huge moment from the pitch and we were heading towards that. What’s the most painful thing that we can do here?

Deception Finale, ABC
DECEPTION – The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Giovanni Rufino)

VM: Looking back on Deception’s thirteen episodes, how did this show changed you as an artist?

CF: Well first off, as an artist, the big thing for me to learn was how much fun it was going to be to work with our magicians. I think they brought a new perspective to everything we did. In so many ways, there were scenes and set pieces designed a certain way. When the magicians would look at it, they had their own perspective. They were open to that. Working with them and working with production, they gave us unique and interesting set pieces. That was a lot of fun!

I think as a writer for TV, we are always learning stuff. If you’re not learning stuff, you probably need to find another show. We were constantly learning stuff this year. That really excited me! I was in awe of my cast! They were so funny and great! It’s a shame we won’t be able to do more for this show together. I learned how great it was to work with such a positive cast. I’ve had a lot of luck in the past with other shows I worked on; Chuck, Forever, and Legends of Tomorrow. I’ve worked with a bunch of fantastic actors and actresses!

VM: Of these 13 episodes, what are you most proud of?

CF: It’s funny! With each episode, there’s always something unique and special that just makes me smile and gets me excited about! Like you said, having the First Avenue Tunnel sequence in the finale, that’s just something super cool. We had a white board and we had to figure it out. I think the automaton in episode 12 is another example of, “This is crazy! This is legitimately nuts! Can we do it?” And we did it!

From the pilot on, there was a can-do attitude for this show that we weren’t afraid to try stuff. So for each episode, Cameron jumping across rooftops to an autonomous car to finding the emotion, I’m a sucker to the fact that we did it! We did it all and it was a blast to do!  

[Writer’s Note: All Links Highlighted In Bold]

By Jorge Solis